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His Word ... a prophetic perspective


Joel’s Army ...
Predator Or Protein? ...
Come Let Us Reason Together

The Prophecy

          Joel’s prophecy had two purposes.
          First, Joel wrote to call the nation to repentance (2:12) on the basis of its experience of the recent locust plague. The recent disaster was but a token of a more devastating judgment to come. Yet that judgment could be averted by sincere and humble repentance (2:13, 14). In this, Joel shares a common message with other prophets. In the light of impending judgment, there is always a message of hope for those who will return in faith to God.
          Second, the prophecy was intended to comfort the godly with promises of future salvation and blessing (2:28-32; 3:18-21). Should the national disaster occur, Joel offered hope to the true believers that all was not over. God would keep His promise; the Savior would one day reign.
(Excerpted from The Nelson Study Bible (New King James Version), copyright 1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.)


          The locust is used in Scripture as a symbol of destructive enemies (see the highly poetical description in <Joel 1:4,6-7; 2:2-9>) and also of armed men <Nah. 3:17>.
          Locust (Heb. ’arbeh, generic term). The devastations that the locust is capable of producing made it a fitting instrument of one of the ten memorable plagues of Egypt. Two species, Aedipoda migratoria and Acridium peregrinum, are the most common. They are always to be found in the southeastern deserts but, from time to time, multiply in vast numbers and spread over the whole country, carrying ruin and despair everywhere. The poetical and prophetical books abound in vivid descriptions of their destructiveness and the powerlessness of man to resist them. Eight Heb. words seem to refer to locusts, some of them probably to various stages in their development. It is, however, impossible to determine the exact meaning of each. Locusts were undoubtedly eaten <Matt. 3:4>.
          Jahn (Biblical Archaeology, sec. 23, s.v.) gives a vivid description of locusts: “Vast bodies of migrating locusts, called by the orientals the armies of God, lay waste the country. They observe as regular order, when they march, as an army. At evening they descend from their flight, and form, as it were, their camps. In the morning, when the sun has risen considerably, they ascend again, if they do not find food, and fly in the direction of the wind <Prov. 30:27; Nah. 3:16-17>. They go in immense numbers <Jer. 46:23>, and occupy a space of ten or twelve miles in length, and four or five in breadth, and are so deep that the sun cannot penetrate through them; so that they convert the day into night, and bring a temporary darkness on the land <Exo. 10:14-15; Joel 2:2,10>. The sound of their wings is terrible <Joel 2:5>. When they descend upon the earth, they cover a vast track a foot and a half high; if the air is cold and moist, or if they be wet with the dew, they remain . . . till they are dried and warmed by the sun <Nah. 3:17>. Nothing stops them. They fill the ditches which are dug to stop them with their bodies, and extinguish by their numbers the fires which are kindled. They pass over walls and enter the doors and windows of houses <Joel 2:7-9>. They devour everything which is green, strip off the bark of trees, and even break them to pieces by their weight <Exo. 10:12-19; Joel 1:4,7,10,12,16,18,20; 2:3>.”
(Excerpted from New Unger’s Bible Dictionary originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (C) 1988.)

          Locusts belong to the class of Orthoptera, i.e., straight-winged. They are of many species. The ordinary Syrian locust resembles the grasshopper, but is larger and more destructive. “The legs and thighs of these insects are so powerful that they can leap to a height of two hundred times the length of their bodies. When so raised they spread their wings and fly so close together as to appear like one compact moving mass.” Locusts are prepared as food in various ways. Sometimes they are pounded, and then mixed with flour and water, and baked into cakes; “sometimes boiled, roasted, or stewed in butter, and then eaten.” They were eaten in a preserved state by the ancient Assyrians.
          The devastations they make in Eastern lands are often very appalling. The invasions of locusts are the heaviest calamities that can befall a country. “Their numbers exceed computation: the Hebrews called them ‘the countless,’ and the Arabs knew them as ‘the darkeners of the sun.’ Unable to guide their own flight, though capable of crossing large spaces, they are at the mercy of the wind, which bears them as blind instruments of Providence to the doomed region given over to them for the time. Innumerable as the drops of water or the sands of the seashore, their flight obscures the sun and casts a thick shadow on the earth (Ex. 10:15; Judg. 6:5; 7:12; Jer. 46:23; Joel 2:10). It seems indeed as if a great aerial mountain, many miles in breadth, were advancing with a slow, unresting progress. Woe to the countries beneath them if the wind fall and let them alight! They descend unnumbered as flakes of snow and hide the ground. It may be ‘like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them is a desolate wilderness. At their approach the people are in anguish; all faces lose their colour’ (Joel 2:6). No walls can stop them; no ditches arrest them; fires kindled in their path are forthwith extinguished by the myriads of their dead, and the countless armies march on (Joel 2:8, 9). If a door or a window be open, they enter and destroy everything of wood in the house. Every terrace, court, and inner chamber is filled with them in a moment. Such an awful visitation swept over Egypt (Ex. 10:1-19), consuming before it every green thing, and stripping the trees, till the land was bared of all signs of vegetation. A strong north-west wind from the Mediterranean swept the locusts into the Red Sea.”, Geikie’s Hours, etc., ii., 149.
(Excerpted from Easton’s Bible Dictionary)

          The terms grasshopper and locust are often used interchangeably. A locust is one kind of grasshopper. Another term used rarely for these insects is katydid <Lev. 11:22>, (NIV). It has a brown-colored body two to three inches long. Airborne, with two sets of wings, the locust was dreaded because of its destructive power as a foliage-eating insect in the ancient world.
          The eighth plague that God sent upon the Egyptians was an invasion of locusts. Millions of these insects may be included in one of these swarms, which usually occur in the spring. Locusts in such numbers speedily eat every plant in sight, totally destroying the crops. A locust plague is practically unstoppable. Water does not work; for when enough locusts drown, the survivors use their bodies as a bridge. They have also been known to smother fires that had been set to destroy them. Even modern farmers wrestle with this problem, often resorting to poisoning the adults and harrowing fields in the fall to destroy the eggs before they can hatch in the spring.
          <Chapter 9 of the Book of Revelation> presents a nightmarish prospect: locusts with special powers will be unleashed upon mankind for five months.
(Excerpted from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
          “In our generation areas having the potential for a locust outbreak are monitored by international agencies using satellite reconnaissance and other technology; incipient swarms are met by aircraft and trucks carrying powerful pesticides. However, if the locusts are not destroyed or contained shortly after the hatch, once the swarm has formed, control efforts are minimally effective even today. For example, in 1988 the civil war in Chad prevented international cooperation in attacking the hatch, and a destructive swarm spread throughout North Africa devastating some of the poorest nations and threatening Europe as well.
          It is difficult for modern Western people to appreciate the dire threat represented by a locust plague in earlier periods. Such outbreaks had serious consequences for the health and mortality of an affected population and for a region’s economy. Scarcity of food resulting from the swarm’s attack would bring the population to subsistence intake or less, would make the spread of disease among a weakened populace easier, would eliminate any trade from surplus food products, and would stimulate high inflation in the costs of food products.
          Disease outbreaks are further aggravated when swarms die; the putrefaction of the millions of locust bodies breeds typhus and other diseases that spread to humans and animals (see the description in Augustine’s City of God 3.31). Baron (Desert Locust, pp. 3-7) catalogues many locust outbreaks known to have been accompanied by outbreaks of pestilence.
(Raymond Dillard, The Minor Prophets, “Joel”).

          June 1, 1998—Greg Sword, a University of Texas researcher, has discovered that the yellow and black Central Texas grasshoppers may have a destructive past—his genetic research indicates our grasshoppers are the descendants of the desert locust, which is actually itself a grasshopper. According to Sword, ‘It’s the locust written about in the Bible and the Koran, an infamous pest throughout time.’
          According to Sword, even if the grasshoppers don’t think ahead like their ant colleagues, they do have incredible internal energy reserves. The insects can cruise at 13 mph for up to a day and a half, and as the leading edge of a swarm crossing the Atlantic from Africa tire out, their floating bodies give others a place to land and rest before continuing an ocean crossing. The last such trans- Atlantic grasshopper swarm was in 1988, and was observed by the United Nations Migratory Pests Group.

          In summary, let’s take a look at locusts:
Are: Use: Can: Destroy: Devour: Obscure: Bring: Affect: Produce: Contribute: Cause: Stimulate:

Biblical Types

          If you are current in some of the teachings being promoted in Pentecostal/Charismatic circles, you will be familiar with the teachings being promoted which I describe below.
          How can locusts in the book of Joel really be compared as a type of a new breed of “divine” Christian believers, with “hidden revelation knowledge?”
          Would God really give a prophetic revelation of this bunch of nasty, objectionable, vicious insects being a type of “His” Own personal army of an elite corp of believers who are elevated to a status of godhood to rule and reign in the place of Jesus until we get the earth cleaned up enough for Him to come and take over the throne?
          ... saints of God so powerfully anointed as to make Peter and Paul and the early apostles and the book of Acts and its miracles pale by comparison of the miraculous exploits to be done by them?
          ... an invincible, elite, army of overcomers, in perfect unity, executing the judgement of God by slaughtering non-Christians and denominational Christians and independent Christians who reject as unbiblical the new so-called super “apostles and prophets?”
          ... a part of a “manchild company” who are to be considered as being glorified and remaining here on earth as “leaders” of the corporate body of Christ which is to perfect this earth and earthly systems? And to overthrow the satanic principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness of this world and take their places? And make the earth ready for Jesus to come personally and visibly and claim “His” kingdom?
          ... to make the bride of Jesus without spot and wrinkle by purging [read: killing] those who do not accept their aberrant doctrines and teachings?
          ... this “new thing” borne of a “paradigm shift,” perverting scripture to arrive at a ruling class of Christian believers called “Manifested sons of God” to be raptured [read: transformed] into spiritual beings right here on earth, instead of being raptured to heaven and awaiting the personal, visible return of Jesus Christ Himself to defeat His enemies?
          ... salvation by special music? You sure you’re not confusing that with New Age “harmonic convergence?” Listen did you guys and gals ever consider lending your writing talents to Disneyland? They’re looking for bright, inventive fantasy writers.
          Does anyone see a blessing in the book of Joel for the people of God from this army? (Note also that the end time northern army is destroyed by God.)
          Please note that Joel’s army performs no miracles and, in fact, marches aggressively through the land of Israel causing tremendous destruction.
          Joel’s army is God’s army in the same sense as Cyrus was called God’s shepherd and God’s anointed and given the power to subdue nations (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1; Ezra 1:2; 2 Chronicles 36:23). In the same way Nebuchadnezzar was God’s servant (Jeremiah 43:10). And then there’s the enigma of Judas Iscariot: “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve” (John 6:70,71. These people were all instruments of the kingdom of God, not inheritors of the kingdom of God. Just like Joel’s locusts.
          Joel’s army is a destructive plague of locusts, led by God Himself to bring judgement upon Israel, whatever your definition of who Israel is. This is also true of the human army scriptural anti-type.

The Dumbing Of Christianity

          C’mon guys and gals—just how gullible are we?
          Answer: Very, if we don’t read and study the word of God and base our personal revelations upon that same word. Nothing short of biblical illiteracy is responsible for this mess of confused and perverted doctrine.
          Speaking of apostles and prophets, in Ephesians 4:8, the Greek word “gifts” doma, emphasizes the specific qualities and characteristics of a gift. This is contrasted to the fact that it is a present freely given. The influence of the qualities and characteristics of the gift are implied or stated. It is used in describing the gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). It’s coupled with the word “good,” which states the influence of the gift (of the Holy Spirit). Doma is used in Philippians 4:17 where Paul is commending the church at Philippi concerning their giving to him: “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.” The same meaning is found: that of the specific qualities and characteristics of their gifts to Paul. Verse 18 explains the influence of their gifts: “But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.” The influence of their gifts to Paul was to cause God to be well pleased with the givers.
          Doma is used in Ephesians 4:8: “Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” In verse 11 the gifts are named. The specific qualities and characteristics of these gifts and their influence upon the body of Christ are explained in verses 12 through 16. These gifts given unto men — apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors [read: shepherds] and teachers — are to prepare and equip and make us fit for the work of the ministry. That means works of service in building up the body of Christ, “Till we all come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). We are to stop being children, tossed and blown around by the cunning craftiness of men to deceive, speaking the truth in love, building ourselves up in love. Each of us is to do the part that God has empowered us for.
          The doma gift of the Holy Spirit and the influence of His qualities and characteristics are fully explained throughout scripture. (The Holy Spirit is also a dorea “gift” (Acts 2:38; 8:20;10:45; 11:17; Hebrews 6:4). A dorea gift is a supernatural gift emphasizing it is a present freely given without persuasion, reasoning, or a cause. The Holy Spirit is yours as a gift for the asking).
          Question: How do the “new” “super” apostles and prophets, these alleged anti-types of locusts, compare to scriptural descriptions and requirements? And what is the influence of their qualities and characteristics? It would appear they are, in fact, contributing to the eternal babyhood of the body of Christ by tossing and blowing around by the cunning craftiness of men to deceive. Speaking the truth in love? Building us up in love? As “iron rod” rulers of Christ’s body, pronouncing deadly punishment upon them? Did somebody cancel out 1 Corinthians 13:2? “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity [read: love], I am nothing.” And 1 John 4:8: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
          “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:15-20).
          C’mon guys and gals—just how gullible are we?
          Apostles have another function, described by Paul the apostle. I’m here going to quote from chapter one of my book “Growth In Goodness ... The Heart Of Jesus:”
          “Disciple,” Greek, mathetes, literally is a learner. It signifies a pupil, follower, supporter and imitator of their teacher. The root word shows thought accompanied by effort. The main idea of discipleship involves learning and fulfilling Christ’s teachings. We must not abandon this fundamental duty. Many issues are timely and proper but they are ultimately secondary.
          Every member of the body, the universal church of Jesus Christ, is a living stone in the temple of God. Each member is responsible for the standard of their individual temple. We need healthy substance for growth, strength and stature of the body of Christ. We cannot build a strong church with corrupted, inactive and fragmented materials.
          Central to discipleship of Christ is the necessity to flood ourselves with His thoughts. We must learn of Him and do as He did in our words and deeds. Jesus is the only perfect human to walk this earth. He alone is our model. Lazy hearers of the words of Christ are many and known by their offensive fruit. The body of Christ must not display attitudes, attributes and actions contrary to the character of Jesus. By wrongly influencing multitudes of church members, we pervert and profane the foundational principles of Christianity.
          Man’s consistent misbehavior has been well documented: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Thoughts and imaginations proceeding from the heart of man cause corruption and imperfection, creating evil. The Apostle Paul addressed this issue: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (II Corinthians 10:3-5).
          This verse pertains to Paul’s authority as an apostle called by the Lord Jesus Christ. A rough paraphrase would reveal that Paul is saying: For though we (emphatically, referring to apostles) live in the flesh, we apostles (emphatic) are not contending with carnality by using fleshly opposition. (For the offensive weapons of our warfare against the flesh in an apostolic ministry are not fleshly. They are powerful and capable through God to the destruction of arguments held on to with human confidence.) In this manner we demolish intellectual reasonings and lower every barrier risen against the progressive search for knowledge of God. We take every thought captive to submissively obey Christ.
          Someone has said that to truly understand the total holiness of God you must first understand the total depravity of fallen man. The opposite is also true, that to understand the depravity of fallen man you must first understand the holiness of God.
          We are discussing fundamentals in this first chapter and working toward laying a firm foundation. Often, when a new building goes up, the first step in laying a new, firm foundation is to demolish the old one. Sometimes, we must forcibly restructure the ground.
          Using the intent of Paul’s logic, we will attempt to destroy arguments and demolish intellectual reasonings. They are held on to with human confidence, not a search for knowledge of God.
          The beginning of this chapter will try to explain the total depravity of fallen man. This part of the chapter may appear negative. Nevertheless, it is an effort to lower every barrier raised up against the progressive search for knowledge of God. We hope you will take every thought captive to submissively obey Christ.
          OK, what’s my point? It’s obvious by their newly self-described unscriptural function that these “new” apostles are not disciples of Jesus Christ. They are not being responsible members of the body of Christ. Responsibility is always accompanied by authority, and vice versa. They are exercising irresponsible authority, which by that definition is not authority at all. They are not providing healthy substance for the body of Christ by their aberrant doctrines. This is weakening the church.
          This “new breed” is breeding old stuff—self—instead of Jesus, Jesus, Jesus and Him crucified. This is perverting and profaning the foundational principles of Christianity. Instead of demolishing intellectual reasonings and lowering every barrier risen against the progressive search for knowledge of God and taking every thought captive to submissively obey Christ they are falling back upon self—utilizing human wisdom, which is earthly, sensual and demonic. Even stating they will bring the punishment of death to those who don’t follow their man-made doctrines in complete defiance of “we do not war after the flesh.”
          Somewhere along the line they have lost sight of man’s depravity and also of God’s holiness. The laying of a firm foundation upon the word of God has been neglected for laying a foundation of human wisdom based upon subjective experiences. These experiences are being held on to with human confidence, not a search for knowledge of God. Instead of destroying human arguments and demolishing intellectual reasonings, they are attempting to utilize this human wisdom to firm up the foundation. The foundation of Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles is our criteria for biblical functioning of these gifts of God to man. It is not within the power or authority or wisdom of man to rewrite the rules for functioning apostles and prophets in today’s church.
          Jesus Christ, and He alone, is truly the way, the truth and the life.
          Don’t be deceived by these false apostles and prophets, beloved. There are true apostles and prophets who have hearts of servants that God is raising up.
          Many have cleverly perverted the scriptures by misinterpreting them to make their claims sound humanly logical and attempt to pass it off as sound biblical doctrine. But any casual observation as to the end result of this garbage has to expose the lack of the heart of God Himself in these postulations.
          God’s character is love, His compassion is demonstrated in His grace and mercy, and His conscience is revealed to us in His wisdom, judgment and justice. Only with these attributes can justice be upheld—the use of authority and power to uphold that which is good. Without the very wisdom of God Himself, we humans fail miserably by continuing to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We can only bring correction to our faulty wisdom by continuing to eat of the tree of the life of our Creator, Master, Redeemer and God, Whose name is Jesus.
          Instead, we continue to go along with every new wind of teaching and alleged doctrine that we learn from our human teachers. However, when these teachings depart from the scriptural pattern and begin to include unscriptural teachings and practices we have been admonished to disregard the perverted gospel and that those who preach it are accursed.

Galatians 1:6-10:
          6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
          7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
          8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
          9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
          10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

          We are dealing with the teachings of human beings—men and women. Paul says that even if an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
          Why is the body of Christ afraid to follow Paul the apostle’s advice? This fear has been engendered into the hearts of God’s people by the unbiblical Romanized, paganized, corporate institutional structure of glass, steel and brick nominally called the church. Inherent in this system is hyper-authoritarianism by the unscriptural one man “pastor-king.”
          Fear is further compounded by the false teachings of the requirement of a New Testament “tithe” and incurring the wrath of being cursed by God for failure to give your money to this corporation.
          Now throw in the unscriptural teachings of the need by the saint for a “covering” without which the devil will “get you” and we have a fear based system of manipulation, and intimidation for the purpose of controlling the saints [read: witchcraft].
          Church, these men and women are not even angels—dump ’em, quit following them around and giving them your time, money and abilities. Just get away from them and let them be accursed.
          They have taught you that they are God’s anointed and then quoted Psalm 105:15 (see also 1 Chronicles 16:22) “Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” However, if you read these verses in context you will see that God is speaking of the nation of Israel in its formative years. And when David said he would not “stretch forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed” he was speaking of not killing a king, Saul, to be exact. There is no similar situation in today’s church.
          So just dump these non-angels, non-anointed jokesters and take care of the fatherless, widows, and strangers in the land and those who are truly called and anointed of God to be servants in helping mature the body of Christ. And tell those with whom you have to do about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
          This deceived group is strong in rebuking the believer who dares to question their flakey “new” revelations. They accuse them of having a judgemental spirit and of attacking the prophets personally. This is an old trick saints, if you can’t attack the message because it’s solidly scriptural, then change tactics and attack the messenger. Don’t fall for it. Push them for scriptural answers. And don’t take verses lifted out of the context of the biblical meaning.
          The New Agers study biblical prophecy and know it better than the average saint. They are delighted to see this change of theological truth to that of gnosticism. In fact, if you take time to check it out, you will find that they accept this Neo-Pentecostalism as part of their very own New Age Movement! They long ago publicly declared their intention to infiltrate the Christian churches in order to propagate their ideas. Their ideas, by the way, are identical to what these false teachers and prophets and apostles are teaching, with the exception of some of the terminology.
          Jesus has warned us: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” ... “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before” (Matthew 24:4,11,24,25—see also Mark 13:5,22,23,37; Luke 21:8,36).
          The warnings of Jesus are clear in that we are not to be deceived by:
          1—False Christs
          2—False prophets
          3—Deceiving signs and wonders.
          We have come full circle, church. “And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4,5).
          If you will read and study the Bible, and spend time in prayer and fellowship with God through His Holy Spirit for understanding of that read word and implement correct biblical corporate authority and procedures it will release the true power of God in you.
          Then you will reveal the true Jesus, you will refute false prophets and deceiving signs and you will recognize true Godly wonders.
          And if you do see an angel, Paul the apostle has some advice for you:

2 Corinthians 11:1-15:
          1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.
          2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
          3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
          4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
          5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.
          (The NIV reads: But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”)
          6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things.
          7 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
          8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
          9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.
          10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.
          11 Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth.
          12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.
          13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
          14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
          15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

          And, yes, I know there are some of you saying to yourself, “Well, you poor dumb, stupid, unenlightened brother. You’re still a low level initiate and I’ll add you to my prayer list that God’s “new” Holy Spirit would fall upon you and so you can be just like us and begin to enjoy the “new thing” you so disparage.”
          Do me a favor, huh? Don’t bother. God doesn’t change and Jesus is still the same. Neither does His word or His Spirit. Just bug off, locust. And take all your human wisdom [read: earthly, sensual, demonic] nasty stuff with you.

A Prophetic Charge

          One good prophetic indicator is that locusts were eaten by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6). (Locusts were high in protein). The prophetic, in the “spirit and power of Elias” (Elijah) will “first come, and restore all things” (Luke 1:17; Matthew 17:11; Mark 9:12).
          Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers) has this to say about locusts: “akris ^200^ occurs in <Matt. 3:4> and <Mark 1:6>, of the animals themselves, as forming part of the diet of John the Baptist; they are used as food; the Arabs stew them with butter, after removing the head, legs and wings. In <Rev. 9:3,7>, they appear as monsters representing satanic agencies, let loose by divine judgments inflicted upon men for five months, the time of the natural life of the “locust.” For the character of the judgment see the whole passage.”
          It’s the commission of the Elijah company of prophets that “restore all things” to spiritually “eat” these locusts “in the spirit and power of Elijah” in order to eliminate them before they become nasty, objectionable and vicious. It’s also the commission of the body of Christ to spiritually “eat” these loathsome pests to get rid of them. Locusts were considered “clean” for John the Baptist according to Mosaic law and fit to eat. The New Testament tells us all foods are OK for us to eat now. However, it’s clear that if these locusts are allowed to form a plague they will be a horrible menace to humans and animals.
          We are to first symbolically remove their heads (the intellectualization of arguments held on to with human confidence, and demolish their intellectual reasonings and lower every barrier risen against the progressive search for knowledge of God. And take every thought captive to submissively obey Christ), remove their legs (strength and mobility in spreading their false teachings and unbiblical revelations), and remove their wings (the perversion of their ability to soar like eagles and get pseudo-heavenly revelations that purportedly overwrite the written word of God).
          This can be accomplished by simply refusing to listen to them and refusing to give them your money. Without your support they will not form a plague. However, with your continued support they will multiply and form a plague which will adversely affect every member of the body of Christ.
          Whatever is left of healthy spiritual protein we are to spiritually eat ’em up, i.e., assimilate the good things of God that are still resident within them. We are to remember Paul’s admonition: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).
          This is a prophetic message for the true Elijah company of prophets.
          Do you really want to enlist or persist in this “army” with its “new doctrines” supposedly given by direct inspiration of the Spirit and which by-pass the written doctrine and instructions of God’s written word?
          Or would this be a good time to honorably discharge yourself from this deceived group?

Receive The Love Of The Truth

2 Thessalonians 2:7-12:
          7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
          8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
          9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
          10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
          11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
          12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

          We are here, church: “... because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

A Final Prophetic Warning

          The search for something “new” has dominated mens minds for centuries. Constant progression in new things is the key to our existence. As the new becomes familiar and then old to us, we push on towards something even newer in order to feed our insatiable desire for ever changing situational dynamics in our drab existence.
          And so it is with traditional Christianity. Old familiar doctrines, teachings and practices become old to us and we desire that which is new to us. In so doing, many have pushed beyond the traditions of Christian, Bible-based doctrines and teachings for which many saints have contended and died for. In pushing beyond biblical limits we move out of the light of scripture and into areas of the unknown and darkness.
          Thus, we move into the area of a New Religious Movement, as they are now called [read: cult]. We become bored with our spiritual vehicle and its owners manual. We want to tinker on our own. So we “borrow” another manual, or rewrite the existing, applicable one to our own satisfaction. In effect, we are tired of our now old Rolls Royce and its owners manual and maintenance schedules. So instead of changing the oil every six months, as recommended, we decide we will change it every six days, or maybe every six years. We modify the time of need for replacement parts. We alter every facet of maintenance schedules and ignore engineering specifications. We “borrow” from the owners manuals for a Mercedes, a Ford, a Chevrolet, an Alfa Romeo and utilize parts of each for our new, revised owners manual. The end results of this misapplied human wisdom is an automobile engineer’s nightmare.
          In like manner, we become dissatisfied with the performance of God’s Holy Spirit. We search through the Bible, our owners manual, and find no solutions to our personal problems of individual apathy. We read, research, pray and beg God, order God, direct God, command God, to save the world for us. Instead, we find within the pages of scripture that we have a responsibility to be salt and light and to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified as witnesses of our love for Him. But we don’t want to do that. It would interfere with our established religious system. God is being unfair. After all, it’s His job to save the world, isn’t it? I mean, He’s the One Who let the world get into such a mess, right? So we want another owners manual. And we borrow from the cults, the occults, and the difficults. And come up with our very own hodge podge of spiritual junk.
          And in so doing have created a New Religious Movement [read: cult] which promotes our own selfish values and allows us to be in charge in order to produce our little fleshly results. Hey, one percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing, right? I mean, after all, we gotta do something for God, even if it’s wrong!
          In our spiritual immaturity we move from light to dark. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). “Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him” (John 11:9,10). In our human wisdom and pride we cease to focus on the simplicity of Jesus Christ and instead begin to focus on other supernatural things. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Corinthians 11:3,4).
          When we lose our focus on Jesus, and focus on other things, we will eventually come to focus upon self. This focus upon self becomes a source of pride for us. In our pride, we become unteachable, rebellious and controlling. Operating in these spirits, we open the door for Jezebel and Ahab spirits, who always bring their idols with them. Where there are idols there is always spiritual and/or physical adultery. With our flesh so indulged, the downward gravitation of fleshly desires becomes more and more active in our lives, leading us into even worse sins.
          We fall easy prey to extra-biblical revelations. Casting aside the safety of scriptural guidelines and limitations, we move into areas of confidence in our flesh. We find ways to integrate “Bible” and our new found personal “revelations” which we have received supernaturally. Finally, we say to ourselves, that we are satisfying our desire for a “new thing.” We ignore the clear warnings of Revelation 22:18,19: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
          But, you say, we have a “higher” source of revelation. An angel, a vision, a prophetic word, a personal experience, a “burning bush” type of thing that must be of God. After all, He’s doing a “new thing,” right? We ignore the clear warning of scripture: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8, 9). “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1,2).
          It appears that “salvation” has been redefined as something other than faith in Jesus Christ. Wow! Does that help foster dependence upon another human being? Now, human works has a place in our salvation! That sure changes our hope of glory, huh? That’ll keep you in bondage for a long time. I guess they never read the scripture: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). These people are actually calling themselves “Christs.” Or, will when they get their immortality from the “corporate Christ” that God is going to send in place of His only begotten Son. Well, according to them, that is.
          Yeah, they are too high and mighty to be mere servant leaders. Nope, God has called them to be another Jesus. But Jesus said: “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him” (John 7:18). I guess that would make the claims to be Christ unrighteousness, huh? All their special “godhood” claims really look bad in light of 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” As a matter of fact, Hebrews tells us: “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-22). Since none of these people died for us, it looks like we can depend upon Jesus, doesn’t it? Looks like we better stick to what God said in His word ’cause, contrary to what this bunch tells us: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20).
          Note also that they are trying to get the Bible to say something that’s not there. This goes back to extra-biblical revelations. If their mixed up explanation of biblical doctrine doesn’t confuse you, nothing will. I think we’re safe to say that doctrine means something put forth as a principle that’s accepted as valid and authoritative. Up to a couple hundred of years ago, Christian doctrine was well established, defended and taught to others. Some even gave their lives to defend the doctrine of the Christian faith as found in the Bible. For the true child of God, only one option is open to them: God inspired the Bible, it’s infallible in its authority and inerrant in the original autographs. We accept the truth of scripture to bring to fruition every promise God has given us. We live our lives by the guidelines of the Bible. To accomplish this, we must have an understanding of the message contained in the Bible from our Creator.
          To get an understanding of the message of the Bible, we must read and study it—for ourselves. That requires we use our intelligence, our head, our brains. If someone tells you not to think, not to question, not to ask for scriptural references, then that’s an excellent time to make a fast exit and never return. Forget the idea of just “submitting.” Unless you want to be a spiritual zombie. Paul the apostle warned us: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3,4).
          And that time has come ...
          Ah! ... these people are so special with their visions, trances, felt and seen “presences” and the ability to proclaim unto God what He must do for us. All these wonderful secret things they bring to us in order to present “new” doctrine and “new” truths. How we so need these mysterious things that God has hidden from us! According to them, that is. The problem is that they are solitary, secret and subjective. Jesus said: “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true” (John 5:31).
          The word of God says plainly: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3,4). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
          Looks like we don’t need all this “special” stuff. If we move beyond “ all things that pertain unto life and godliness” and “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” then what are we moving into? A lie, a deception, the occult—feigned words? “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” (2 Peter 2:1-3).
          For many centuries the person of Jesus Christ has been scripturally defined by those who have dedicated their lives to Him. Now, however, we are being presented with a brand new definition of Who Christ is and Who He isn’t. Not only is the deity of Christ being compromised, these deceived persons also lay claim to deity through their alleged future godhood, here on this earth as Christs. Paul, the apostle said: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:6-10). Jesus said: “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him” (John 5:23).
          The taking of scriptural verses out of their original contextual setting in order to craft a “new” doctrine, teaching or revelation runs pretty strong in this group. This results in a terribly unbalanced scriptural view of what God is going to accomplish through His church here on this earth. 2 Timothy 3:16,17 tell us: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
          God’s eternal purpose is lost in the shuffle when this unbalance happens. Paul talks about this in Ephesians 3:10-12: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” We find that eternal purpose in Ephesians 1:9,10: “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.”
          The division fostered by their tactics runs counter to the eternal purpose of God. We need the whole counsel of God in order to keep us balanced.
          The present church system has contributed greatly to forming a system of fear and dependency within a closed system of logic where the “laity” has no way to exchange dialogue with the “clergy” relative to evaluation of biblical truth. The saints simply sit and listen and are spoon-fed bits and pieces of doctrine at the whim of the pastor-“king” or his representative. Bits and pieces that may or may not be scriptural truth. With the addition of a pseudo-“tithe” system to finance whatever they can dream of in order to build their personal kingdom the control noose tightens. The addition of the false teachings of the necessity of a “covering” in order to have an umbrella of protection of the pastor-“king” and his corporate structure of cookie-cutter saints further tightens the control noose.
          And so the saints become bond-slaves to a man-made system of human works, rather than to their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Careful study of the Bible shows that God always provided environments of love, life and liberty to His people. Instead, human traditions of converting others to a human held point of view, and then committing finances, time and abilities to that point of view provide additional control measures.
          In effect they kill two birds with one stone: insuring total slavery for the constituents of the corporate organization and getting financial support for their personal kingdoms. Peter says in 2 Peter 2:3: “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” How many families have denied themselves proper food, clothing, shelter, automobiles, needed medical, dental and eye care in order to “give to God,”, i.e., their local corporate organizational structure of glass, steel and brick? Because of fear God would “curse” them if they didn’t? “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8).
          Paul, the apostle warned us in 1 Corinthians 7:23: “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” And in Galatians 5:1: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” In John 8:36, Jesus admonishes us: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
          By His death, burial and resurrection Jesus paid an unimaginable price for us to be free. What a travesty of justice for us to willingly put our own selves back into spiritual and financial bondage!
          Judgement and denouncing others is also a common practice. Disagreement almost always results in a personal attack upon the one who dared to question the scriptural authority of “new” so-called revelations. This is a delicate subject as there is a fine line to be drawn here.
          The following is quoted from chapter 12 of my book “Growth In Goodness ... The Heart Of Jesus:”
          James, chapters three and four, and Titus 3:2-7 instruct us not to judge fleshly weaknesses, as we all have the same problems. We are not to judge opinions, observances of days or what is eaten. We are not to be a stumblingblock, but are to use our strength (in the Lord) to bear up those who are weak (Romans 14-15:13—see also John 7:24; 8:15; I Corinthians 8-11:1; Colossians 2:16; Galatians 6:1-10). We are not to judge prematurely the “counsels of the hearts” (i.e., motives or purposes) of another’s ministry. When the Lord comes He will “bring to light the hidden things ...” (I Corinthians 4:1-7—see also I Corinthians 2:15,16).
          I Corinthians 5 is clear that we are not to judge those in the world. However, we are to judge the effects of fellow believers on the body (see also II Corinthians 2:5-11; 7:8-12).
          [Those who do not believe on Jesus are judged (John 3:17,18, where krino is translated “condemn(ed)” and verse 19 states the reason. Jesus did not come into the world to judge the world, but to save it (John 3:17; 12:47). The Father does not now actively judge but has placed that task into the hands of Jesus (Acts 17:31—Psalms 9:8; 96:13; 98:9), Who has stated that His Word will judge (John 5:22-27; 12:47-50). The Holy Spirit teaches and reminds us of His Words (John 14:16,17,26; 15:26; 16:7,13). Therefore final judgment exercised after the second coming of Jesus (Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:22-30; 8:26; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Romans 2:16; 14:9-12; I Corinthians 4:5; II Timothy 4:1; I Peter 4:5; Revelation 20:11-15) will be according to His Word].
          We are also to judge between the brethren (I Corinthians 6:1-8—see also Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:25-30) and are to judge carefully and intelligently (Acts 4:19; 15:19 (where krino is translated “sentence”); 16:4 (where krino is translated “ordained”); 16:15; 21:25 (where krino is translated “concluded”); I Corinthians 7:37 (where krino is translated “decreed”); 10;15; 11:13,31; 14:29).
          In the light of these scriptures Jesus’ statement makes it clear the purpose, motivation and goal of your judgments is the measure you have meted out. It will determine how you will be judged. We are to exercise, as far as humanly possible, the attributes of God’s conscience in using Godly wisdom to arrive at judgments of justice.
          I wish that I could say that this search for something “new” has resulted in a syncretism of various religious ideas. However, the truth is that there really is nothing new about it. They are simply old recycled, rehashed, refuted errors in doctrine that have persistently crept back into mainline Christianity for many centuries. And have been renounced by saints who have contended for the faith once delivered to the saints. Sometimes with their lives.
          No syncretism, as a matter of fact, it has resulted in a melding, a mixture an amalgamation, a union, of New Age ideas into the church. With identical ideas and perverted theology designed to bring about a “oneness” of humanity through demonic powers. With the elimination of the one-quarter of earth’s people who simply won’t go along with this nonsense.
          Within the pages of this article I have delineated many of the characteristics of a biblical New Religious Movement [read: cult] which has been developing for more than fifty years. It is now beginning to manifest itself in a tremendous diversity of cultic doctrine, practices, traits and characteristics.
          A Christians’s response to a cult should be, first, not to get involved with it. And second, if you are involved, then get out of it. This can be difficult because of the flattery, authority, love-bombings, and dependency that has bonded you to them. It’s never too late for any individual to remove themselves from a cult. It’s just very difficult sometimes.
          Unless we can stamp out biblical illiteracy and implement scriptural doctrines and stop feeding these wolves our money so they can grow, and stand firm and contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, we shall have another fully developed cult on our hands.
          It may be too late already, because they are powerfully allied with the New Age movement, whose sworn purpose is to stamp out all vestiges of Christianity. By eliminating the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, they hope to bring humanity back into the darkness of demonic power and rule over the entire earth.
          Nothing I or anyone else says about this apostasy will change the course of history because “... it is written ...”
          Hopefully, however, a remnant few will heed the warnings and change the course of their eternal destiny.
          C’mon guys and gals—just how gullible are we?

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